Monday, April 9, 2012

Old can be fabulous

As you might have guessed, I'm referring to aged wine. With a few bottles dating back a decade and more, I have been debating when to open them. It's hard to rationalize opening an aged bottle of wine--which could be worth hundreds of dollars--on a Tuesday night.

The Easter holiday provided the perfect opportunity to open a few of my "special occasion" wines. At the dinner party I attended, we opened and decanted a 1998 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2001 ZD Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The host insisted on pouring the wines, but he didn't tell me which wine was which...

The first one he poured was brick-red in the glass with a brownish rim. It was almost transparent; the tannins caught in the neck of the decanter. The bouquet was very slight. The wine itself was quite mellow with nuances of tobacco, leather, and cherry liqueur. It was drinkable, but I wondered if it were past its prime.

I much preferred the second wine. It was more fruit forward, textured, and full-bodied. In the glass, it was a darker and more opaque than the first. The palate was more robust and powerful, with beautiful notes of ripe blackberry, cassis, and sweet vanilla.

Both wines were enjoyed by all of the guests and I was relieved that neither had gone bad after so many years.

I accurately guessed that the second wine was the ZD--it tasted more youthful to me.

Although not all wines get better with age, I would definitely recommend aging ZD Cab. For $55 a bottle at release, this is a wine that's built to last and it's affordable enough to buy more than one bottle (which is always a good idea).

Now that I've drank my one and only bottle of 2001 ZD Cab, I'm sad that I can't replace it!

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